By Aji Fatou Faal
Lawmakers at the National Assembly Thursday unanimously considered and adopted the motion for support of the Re-Entry of the Republic of the Gambia to the Commonwealth of Nations.
Tabling the motion, Hon.Ousainou A.N.M Darboe, Minister of Foreign Affairs International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad stated that unilateral withdrawal of the Gambia from the Commonwealth by former President Jammeh is regrettable and considered to be a major low-point in the foreign relations of the Gambia.
He said the decision to withdraw The Gambia was not made in consultation with the National Assembly, general public or government institutions that benefited from the Gambia’s membership to the Commonwealth.
He noted that the Gambia’s premature departure from the Commonwealth neglected its strategic interest in pivotal sectors which, over the years, have immensely benefited from numerous technical assistance and support that their membership of Commonwealth guaranteed.
He said it further diminished the Gambia’s ‘voice’ on pertinent issues at the global platform such as climate change, economic development and south-south cooperation which are vital to the development of the nation.
“Recognising that in an era of changing economic circumstances and uncertainty, new trade and economic patterns, unprecedented threats to peace and security, and a surge in popular demands for democracy, human rights and broadened economic opportunities, the potential of and need for the Commonwealth – as a compelling force for good and as an effective network for co-operation and for promoting development has never been greater,” he told members.
Hon. Darboe said that the Commonwealth is a voluntary association of independent and equal sovereign states, each responsible for its open policies, consulting and co-operating in the common interests of their peoples and in the promotion of international understanding and world peace, and influencing international society to the benefit of all through the pursuit of common principles and values.]
He opined that the government of the Republic of the Gambia recognises that the special strength of the Commonwealth lies in the combination of their diversity and their shared inheritance in language, culture and the rule of law; and bound together by shared history and tradition; by respect for all states and peoples; by shared values and principles and by concern for the vulnerable.
According to him, the government of the Republic of the Gambia recognizes the role of the Commonwealth as a recognised intergovernmental champion of small states, advocating for their special needs; providing policy advice on political, economic and social development issues; and delivering technical assistance, welcoming the valuable contribution of the network of the many intergovernmental, parliamentary, professional and civil society bodies which support the Commonwealth and which subscribe and adhere to its values and principles.